Monday, May 26, 2008

Caste


Recently a number of fatalities occurred in Jaipur, India when police fired on a group of lower caste members who were in a demonstration. Ironically, they were demonstrating against a government decision to not reclassify them as an ever  lower caste, in order to take advantage of government mandates set-asides in government jobs and university admissions.
  • One wonders if the police would have been as quick to fire on a group of high-caste demonstrators, versus perhaps using a ‘lathi charge’ (google if you don’t know what that is, essentially a baton charge using a metal-capped six to eight foot long bamboo cane; the Indian policeman’s favorite method of crowd control and/or cracking heads!).
  • Casteism is pervasive in Indian society, and a pernicious cancer on Indian society. Even in this day of the modern, India of call centers, high tech, etc. scratch the shiny surface and find casteism ingrained just below…
This blogger grew up (for a time) in Bombay (now known as Mumbai)… Meeting a new person (e.g. while attending college) the first question from the other person almost always was “What are you?” Given that his parents (who were from two different countries) had never brought this blogger up as “X” he had to go home and ask what the answer was… Apparently the box that this blogger is supposed to fit in is “Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin.” So, when pressed, this blogger gave that answer and the other person would calibrate accordingly (automatically assuming, among other things, that this blogger originated from Karnataka state, spoke Konkani as his mother tongue, etc., etc. all totally incorrect by the way).

The idea that because one parent’s family originated from a particular place it should determine one’s choices and constrain all future possibilities in life is a profoundly repugnant one. And the more so for people who happen to be unlucky enough to be born “lower” down in the hierarchy. Casteism is a blight on society.

37 Killed in Caste Riots in India

Caste system in India – Wikipedia
India Caste System Discriminates
India's Caste System – You Tube
Caste Massacres – India – You Tube
The Caste System and the Stages of Life in Hinduism

Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin

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